Wisycom Helps Broadcast PBS' 37th Annual Edition of "A Capitol Fourth" Live from the West Lawn
“For any event requiring a Distributed Antenna System (DAS), we never leave home without the Wisycom MAT288 Programmable RF Combiner,” says Dave Martin, RF Technician, Jetwave Wireless. “This is an unbelievable tool for deploying a DAS across a large site, such as the Capitol. The versatility of the MAT288 allows us to quickly accommodate surprise coverage requests from production with ease, quickly deploying a new stage or camera shot without any issue. Paired with the Wisycom MFL Optical Fiber Link, we are able to provide coverage to far areas as if we were using copper cabling. The MFL is a transparent link providing RF-over-Fiber (RFoF) and remote control of the system that is completely unrivaled in the market today.”
Hired by Capital Concerts, Jetwave Wireless has been providing RF Coordination and DAS for A Capitol Fourth for the past three years. The company manages all wireless microphones and in-ear monitoring systems, while also providing overall event frequency coordination and coverage for wireless devices across multiple stages, including the main stage on the Capitol’s West Lawn, the Grant Memorial Stage at the Reflecting Pool and the Terrace on the Capitol steps.
For the musical portion of the event, Martin and his crew had many sponsored artist riders to cover, including Shure and Sennheiser gear. The MAT288 was used as the ‘head’ of the system. Several pairs of antennas covered the main stage and satellite stage in the crowd. Martin also used two pairs of MFL’s to manage the Capitol steps and the Grant Memorial stage. With the MAT’s four diversity outputs, he fed 30 channels of mics, mixed between Sennheiser and Shure. Additionally, eight channels of in-ear monitoring was distributed around the venue and via the MFL to the Grant stage. By using Wisycom RF distribution products, Martin was able to provide interference-free coverage everywhere.
Wisycom is a great addition to Jetwave’s DAS deployments. In the past, Jetwave would build its own receive antenna combiners, transmit distributions and even its own fiber system for each project. While these devices got the job done in the past, they provided little control of system gains, status and remote control. In the more recent deployments using Wisycom gear, Jetwave networks every device in the system, allowing for control of remote site devices. While this not only allows for an extreme level of control down to each antenna, this also reduces time running back and forth between the head- end and remote sites to tune the system. All of this can now be accomplished through a single computer from the comfort of the stage.
“The distribution products we use from Wisycom are easy to deploy and allow for some of the best RF coverage I have ever seen,” continues Martin. “With an MAT288, I can provide 100 percent microphone coverage over a massive area quickly and without too much work. When combined with the MFL, the system’s reach goes even further. I find the MFL to be the best RFoF system available for production environments. The MFL is built from the ground up for this application. It’s very clear to me, that after years of using it, that it will continue to be the absolute best tool for the job.”
Without Wisycom’s MAT288 and MFL providing centralized coverage for this show, Martin’s needs would require almost twice the inventory of wireless microphones. Wisycom allows the talent to use the same microphones anywhere on site, while also keeping the mixers jobs simple by keeping the talent on the same faders.
“We maintain a very close relationship with Wisycom both in support, and also in product development/life cycle,” says Martin. “The amount of labor savings alone from having control of the remote site via our LAN setup on-site gets us excited to use Wisycom. This event was another success, thanks, in part, to Wisycom. Its distribution gear is the only gear we use for deploying DAS in both live events and fixed installs.”
Broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC., this year, PBS’ 37th annual edition of A Capitol Fourth, presented by Capital Concerts, featured an all-star musical lineup including multi-platinum selling music legends The Beach Boys, featuring John Stamos and Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath; soul men Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi of The Blues Brothers; country star Kellie Pickler; legendary Motown stars The Four Tops; gospel legend Yolanda Adams and Broadway star and two-time Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes; with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Wisycom is a designer and builder of the most sophisticated RF solutions for broadcast, film and live production, renowned for their durability, flexibility, reliability, practicality and cost-effective price points. Wisycom’s design process is driven by attention to detail, customer feedback and ultimate quality, from the selection of components to the manufacturing process, which takes place at the company’s Italian plants. The company prides itself on serving as a technical advisor and partner to every customer. From custom design to evaluation and dimensioning of systems, the Wisycom team stands by its customers through every step of the process.